It seems that February 2018 is the month of global shutter CMOS sensor breakthroughs. A day after Sony announced the first 1MP+ backlit global shutter CMOS sensor, Panasonic announced its own groundbreaking development: a global shutter CMOS sensor that’s capable of 8K, 60FPS, and HDR.
Panasonic’s new CMOS sensor uses an organic photoconductive film (OPF) and features 8K video at 60fps and 450K high-saturation electrons.
“With the technology, it is possible to capture images at 8K resolution, even in high contrast scenes, such as a field under strong sunlight and shaded spectator seats under a stadium roof,” Panasonic says.
In the OPF CMOS image sensor, by incorporating a large capacitor in the circuit part with a large available area, it is possible to realize both high sensitivity mode and high saturation mode with the same pixel structure merely by switching modes from the camera system. In the high sensitivity mode, it is possible to capture data up to a light intensity of 4.5k electrons with high sensitivity. Furthermore, by switching to the high saturation mode, it is possible to capture data up to a light intensity of 450k electrons.
“Moreover, by utilizing the global shutter function that enables simultaneous image capture by all pixels, it is expected to be able to capture moving objects instantaneously without distortion […]”
The sensor can be switched between rolling and global shutter modes by controlling the voltage to the OPF. The global shutter mode allows all the pixels in a photo to be captured simultaneously, elimination the distortion that rolling shutters capture when the scene and subjects are in motion.
By adjusting the voltage applied to the photoconductive film, the film serves as a type of electronically-controlled, stepless, variable ND filter for the sensor, another first for the industry.
Panasonic says that this new technology is protected with 135 Japanese patents and 83 overseas patents. No word yet on when we might see this sensor appear in real-world cameras.